News from Second and State
As the Fall wears on with still no budget in place, some members decided this week to try a new approach to address the funding needs of schools and human services agencies. Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams) and Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) have introduced a package of “fiscal lifeline” bills which would fund those organizations for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The legislative package, which Moul says “targets critical needs throughout our Commonwealth and provides a lifeline for our most vulnerable citizens,” would provide funding for entities such as rape crisis centers and county children and youth organizations, as well as for pupil transportation and agricultural research.
For more information and to see what funding is proposed, go to: http://www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/10/heres_the_latest_republican_pr.html
In the meantime, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) stressed that the next few weeks will be critical for a budget deal. Read more: http://blog.pennlive.com/capitol-notebook/2015/10/dave_reed_tom_wolf_pennsylvani.html
Some of the other highlights from this week include Monday’s House Insurance Committee hearing on H.B. 1633 (Pickett, R-Bradford), which would move the administration of the state’s CHIP program from the Insurance Department to the Department of Human Services, and Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee meeting to vote on H.B. 1366 (Cutler, R-Lancaster), a proposed constitutional amendment to provide for merit selection of the Commonwealth’s appellate judges.
Also on Tuesday, the House passed H.B. 965 (Godshall, R-Montgomery), which amends the Regulatory Review Act. The Act provides for the process by which regulations are adopted in Pennsylvania and requires that the appropriate standing committee review any proposed regulation. Godshall’s bill would further require the committee chairmen to share the regulations with the rest of the committee and allow the committees extra time to review proposed regulations. Decried by democrats as an attempt to slow down the regulatory process and thwart the adoption of regulations during the current administration, passed by a vote of 113-84. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
For more from the House Democrats, go to http://wallaby.telicon.com/PA/library/2015/2015102057.HTM
The House also sent two bills designed to reduce and potentially eliminate state debt to the Senate this week. H.B. 928 (Mentzer, R-Lancaster) and H. B.930 (Toohill, R-Luzerne) would reduce and cap the amount of Commonwealth money available for Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) projects. Both measures passed with 121 affirmative votes.
A Look Ahead:
On Monday, the House Health Committee agenda includes H.B. 1351 (Baker, R-Bradford) which would permit summer camps, colleges, amusement parks and other entities to keep non-patient specific epinephrine auto-injectors in their facilities. The committee will also consider H. B. 1322 Kaufer, R-Luzerne) which would require the Department of Human Services to verify that public assistance recipients are not also receiving benefits in other states.
For more on H. B. 1351, go to: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1351
For more on H. B. 1322, go to: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1322
Also on Monday, the House Transportation Committee will meet to consider S.B. 385 (Pileggi, R-Chester) which would modernize the Transit Revitalization Investment District Act.
Read it here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&sInd=0&body=S&type=B&bn=0385
On Tuesday, the House State Government Committee will hold a voting meeting to consider H.B. 238 (Cutler, R-Lancaster) which is the House’s version of “paycheck protection” legislation, similar to what the Senate passed last week. Also on Tuesday, the House and Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committees will hold a joint informational meeting on the Commonwealth’s foreclosure process.
Check out H.B. 283 here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=0283
Of note, on Wednesday, the House Local Government Committee will meet to consider S.B. 785 (Eichelberger, R-Blair) which would amend the County Consolidated Assessment Law to clarify the assessment evaluation for buildings.
For more on S.B. 785, go to: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&sInd=0&body=S&type=B&bn=0785
Though we don’t typically tell you what’s not happening, the cancellations below are of note:
- Monday’s House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee informational hearing on proposed Chapter 78/78a gas drilling has been cancelled.
- Tuesday’s joint House Gaming Oversight Committee and Finance Committee hearing on online lottery has been cancelled.
For a full list of committee meetings, go to: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm
For possible floor activity, check out The Week Ahead: http://wallaby.telicon.com/PA/library/2015/2015102261.PDF
And the Senate Calendar: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/SC/SC/0/RC/CAL.PDF
In Other News:
- Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s row with the Supreme Court continues. Read more here: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20151023_Kane_releases_offensive_emails.html
- PennDot says to prepare for winter now: http://wallaby.telicon.com/PA/library/2015/2015101949.HTM )
- Pennsylvania’s religious leaders support the use of medical marijuana. Check out: http://wallaby.telicon.com/PA/library/2015/2015102148.HTM
- Could horseracing in Pennsylvania soon be a thing of the past? Go to: http://www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/10/report_gov_tom_wolf_warns_he_m.html
- PennLive has published a series on shale development in Pennsylvania: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/10/state_regulators_fail_to_prote.html